Born in Allonby, Cumberland, John Kerr Marshall, (also known as Jim) spent 30 years working as a technical manager and director of different Unilever companies. He has worked in the UK and various overseas countries, including the USA, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, and retired in 1994. Since 2011, he has lived with Jane, his wife of 55 years, in Meols near Hoylake in the Wirral.
Jim’s interest in old pens began in 1987, while writing a journal with a battered old Parker 51. Buying another pen at an antique fair led to the foundation of a second career. He founded Marestin Ltd in 1992, which later became The Pen & Pencil Gallery in 1996. For more than 10 years, Jim embarked on numerous projects with his friend Arthur Twydle and sold vintage pens in The Pen Exchange in London’s Chancery Lane with Yvonne Perry.
During this period, he was an approved repairer for Sheaffer and Parker and a council member for trade for The Writing Equipment Society. Jim also:
In 1995, Jim was asked to write a guide to pens and writing accessories. A Miller’s Collector’s Guide was published in 1996, and he later established his own publishing business dedicated to books about writing equipment.
Broadening his dealer interest to encompass inkwells, dip pens, pencils, quill knives, and antiquities, Jim remained fascinated by pen and pencil restoration. This resulted in the production of two videos with Arthur Twydle and the publication of his 2007 book Pen Repair, written with co-author Laurence Oldfield as a tribute to Arthur, which is now in its much-expanded Fourth Edition and soon to be printed in the USA.
Additionally, the Pen & Pencil Monograph series was introduced in 1998 as a collector series and also for reproducing significant product catalogues and brochures. There are now 14 different booklets. Furthermore, Jim has published special books for the benefit of Cumbrian Cerebral Palsy, his nominated charity.
Covering subjects such as Arabic calligraphy, silver hallmarks, and writing equipment collecting, Jim has also written for other magazines and journals, including:
We guarantee satisfaction on all items that we sell and the prices of items are agreed prior to any purchase. If you are unhappy with a purchase and
the item is returned to us in the same state as it was despatched, within 7 days, then we will refund your money without any question. Usually we will have photographed the item in detail and that may be important in any cases of a dispute. As most items are sold to persons we know there is total trust in our customers.
Typically, customers are required to pay the cost of postage, insurance, and packaging, which is usually Special Delivery and about £8 for smaller items within the UK.. In cases where these costs are higher, we will discuss how to reduce costs without jeopardising the delivery and security of your item. We have accounts with a range of reliable couriers, including Hermes, DHL, and FedEx.
For repair jobs, items are usually despatched by the same class as received, but with the understanding that the claimable amount is often limited to around £30 if it is not special delivery. We always record despatches and obtain proof of postage.
Items purchased by overseas customers will be despatched in the safest possible way. Additionally, we will be happy to adopt any preferred options you may have. As despatching items to the USA is more complicated than within Europe, we have occasionally lost packages and also cannot guarantee that duty will not be payable.
For our part, we will qualify and describe all items accurately, leaving customs officials in no doubt as to the contents of your package. We will not be responsible for any lost items that have involved the purchaser stipulating his own value and description and we strongly advise against undervaluing.
All items must be paid for before despatch. We accept US $ and Sterling £ cheques as well as cash and secured cheques. Internet transfer is the most popular method with our customers, and you can usually find our account and sort codes on our purchase invoices. Our receiving email is email@example.com.
For valuations, searches, consultancy, and renting out period items, costs will normally be formally agreed in advance by letter and prepaid. Prepayment is not usually required for average repairs, but we will agree on some form of progress payment or deposit for major restoration work.
We also consult on selling collections. In the past 10 years, we have primarily offered this service for friends, but we have found it is increasingly difficult for private collectors to get acceptable terms from auction houses, with some disgraceful practices emerging in recent years.
This is not the most sensible course, to begin with, but nor is accepting the first offer of a friend or acquaintance. With a vast array of experience, we provide free advice on how to get the best returns when selling your collection.
We accept no liability for personal injury, which may result from the abuse of any item that we have sold or repaired. Regarding repair and restoration, while we do everything possible to ensure success with a revitalisation, sometimes the risk is greater than we are prepared to take.
In such cases, we inform the customer that we define that restoration to be ‘at the owner’s risk’ and perhaps suggest another restorer for a second opinion.